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5 Dancers Whose Names You Should Know

Ebony Williams is an incredible artist whose known for her versatility and may be most recognised as a dancer in Beyonce’s video clip “Single Ladies” but her achievements go much further than that. She was Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet companies first African American Female dancer and performed in many arena’s with the company for 10 years. Commercially Ebony Williams has performed on a huge number of platforms, performed and toured with artists such as Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Rihanna and been featured in TV commercials and movies. Ebony is currently a cast member with the broadway show “Jagged Little Pill” and I would encourage you to follow Ebony Williams on social media to keep up to date with the amazing work of this talented artist.

Ms De Lavallade has made such an incredible impact on the arts industry in many forms. She is a dancer, actress, choreographer and teacher whose impact in the arts has been recognised by a number of awards. Carmen De Lavallade performed on broadway, toured with Alvin Ailey and was featured in many TV shows and movies before becoming a professor and member of the Yale Repetory Theatre whose students include Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver. The documentary “Carmen and Geoffrey” shows her life with Geoffrey Holder and is a great watch for any artist.

Misty Copeland is the first African American woman to be promoted to Principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre but that is just one achievement in a long list of incredible accomplishments. She is passionate about giving back to her community and was appointed to the President’s council for fitness, sport and nutrition by Barrack Obama. Misty is now a New York Times best selling author and the recipient of an honorary doctorate for her contributions to diversifying classical ballet.

I would highly recommend reading her memoir “Life In Motion” co written with Charisse Jones.

Ella Havelka is the first aboriginal woman to join the Australian Ballet Company. She graduated from the Australian Ballet School in 2007 before touring with Bangarra Dance Theatre. In 2013 she was offered a position with the Australian Ballet Company and has been the subject of a documentary film called “Ella” which debuted at Melbourne International Film Festival in 2016. It is available to watch online and I would encourage all dancers, but especially Australian ballerinas to watch this beautiful film.

Michaela Deprince has overcome adversity to break down stereotypes and inspire ballerinas from all walks off life. As an orphan from Sierra Leone Michaela was abused and bullied for the condition of her skin, suffering from vitiligo. Adopted by an American family, they recognised her love for ballet and enrolled her into class. Michaela was featured in the documentary “First Position”, has danced as a guest principal with Joburg Ballet and performed with The Dance Theatre Of Harlem. Currently Michaela is a soloist at Dutch National Ballet and loves reaching out to young people to share her message of hope, handwork and perseverance. If you have not seen “First Position” it is a must watch for any ballerina.

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